Great impression, Chris!Initial Impressions of the TK-2
For those considering getting the TK-2 during the sales, these are my initial impressions.
This is a well dressed tank! It not only looks solid, it feels solid and looks great to boot (to my eyes). The weight given by TRI is, 280g, which must be at the top end of portable DAC/Amps and even "transportable" DAPs. My guess is most of us would have the TK-2 tucked away in a bag or jacket when using it out and about, so the weight is more reassuring in terms of perceived quality, rather than a burden.
In terms of size, by most parameters, it is medium size. That is until you consider the thickness and in that regard it is quite thick but, thankfully it does not feel unwieldy. It is about half an inch shorter than the HA11, which is wider still but not quite as thick. The Fiio M11 is the same height but slightly thinner and wider than the TK-2, while the Littlebear B4X is the same thickness but shorter and narrower. I hope the picture helps to give you an idea of size.
Picture - From left to right: HA FEE HA11; TRI TK-2; Fiio M11; Littlebear B4X; Fiio BTR5 and IKKO Zerda ITM01. TRI earphone case for further reference.
Ease of use
In relation to ease of use, the TK-2 is well thought through, everything seems to be easily accessible and it does not require much getting used to, in or out of the pocket. My one criticism is that there is no battery meter, although it has a battery indicator (for on/off and low battery). However, I have not had to charge it for 6 hours and (I do not know how much charge it had out of the box) it seems to be marching on quite well, having used it at various volumes for testing, so battery life test is for the future. I see no reason why the battery meter should be a deal breaker, if battery life is 9 hours as claimed.
You get the full compliment of output connections, while input is USB C, with separate USB C charging which allows for charging while in use. You also get high and low gain which switches off at higher volumes to manage volume levels. The volume knob is smooth and a joy to use, increments in volume are gradual not in leaps.
My testing tells me the TK-2 is about as neutral as you can get. At this stage of testing I get the impression that the TRI TK-2 has not been given any flavouring for additional bass, treble or mid focus. What is clearly noticeable is that every you (at least what I) thought about the particular earphone or headphone comes to the fore. A bassy set will display those tendencies in abundance, while a trebly set will let you know what treble is and so far. You neither get sibilance on the treble end nor flabbiness on the low end.
I tested, the Ikko OH1S (review to come soon) and true to form, clarity, resolution and detail retrieval to make you feel you upgraded your system.
The IMR Aten, tons of well defined bass, while rendering reassuring sub-bass. The piezos also giving as good as the Aten dynamic drivers, you get good details on a solid base of bass.
Shozy SCB2 (review to follow) great quality bass, with vibrating earpieces (I am serious the earpieces vibrate as the sub-bass is rendered) and with good mids and treble. You also get very good timbral accuracy, pianos pieces are so realistic.
TRI Starseas on bass setting, goes to good depths whilst living up to its moniker, "mini U12T" in its resolution and detail retrieval across the frequency spectrum.
So far, so good, but enough for now, more to come after further testing.
The TK-2 was sent to me by KBEAR/TRI as a part of a European Review Tour and will be forwarded to next reviewer in due course. However, all opinions are my own, without influence.
As always, Enjoy your music!
You consistent constructive positivity from TRN to TRI is truly amazing!
How does it compare to BTR5?
(A purely academic question for me though, my preferred universe is alike of E1DA and Zishan Z4 - engineeing marvels on their own)